Following the decision of the Education Ministry to shut down the operation of Leone Preparatory School last year for their defiance in reducing their school fees for two terms, it seems as if some other privately operated schools have learnt their lesson not to challenge government.
In a latest consultation and resolution, the government ruled that some schools (Limount College, International School, Modern High School and others) lack the appropriate facilities for them to be charging the high school fees they are charging.
Mereweather Preparatory School at Jomo Kenyatta Road has been a household name for close to five decades now.
Speaking exclusively to Sierraloaded, Mrs. Marie M. Conteh Head Teacher Mereweather Preparatory School said the school shall celebrate its fiftieth anniversary next year.
She explained that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) came to her school on the 23rd December 2015 to watch their facilities and make their recommendations following a letter requesting them to send a list of their school fees which they did.
After providing the information on the school fees, she said that they held a two day meeting in which they pleaded that a 15% fees’ cut will not be in their favor on the grounds that they cater for their operations and so forth, adding that after the meeting they had a board meeting with school authorities at which they resolved to appeal that the 15% be reduced to 10% which they agreed upon.
She maintained that by next month, the new school fees’ reduction will be taken to the Ministry and a copy will be addressed to each and every parent having a child in the school by the end of the week.
“The old cost for nursery was Le. 1.850.000 per term deducted to Le. 1.650.000, for the infants it was one Le. 1.950.000 reduced to Le. 1.755.000.
The primary was paying Le. 2.100.000 reduced to Le. 1.890.000 and for the class Sixe that do take the NPSE exam, you know they have to do the monthly mock test, series of exams, their fees was Le.2.200.000 now reduced to Le.1.980.000 for the year.
These charges can be paid in two installments with the first part above one million for all the classes.
We made the payment higher for the first term because we have to buy stationeries , print exercise books for the children We give uniforms, workbook and exercise books for all the subjects,” the Head Teacher highlighted.
“I’m happy, we are very corporative with the Ministry of Education, because they are the government of the day, and we cannot go above them. The education acts put all private and government schools under the control of the overall body (MEST) dictates which we have abide by,” she said adding that although this will reduce their budget and caused some constraints they going to manage in a bid to adhere.
Aunty Marie laughed when asked if she thinks the government’s request is a bully or a booster.
“Well, I think it’s a boost to our operation but we just have to appeal to parents to please corporate with us as the schools work is being manifested on the children,” Aunty Marie said.
However, the school prides itself in being one of the best having producing good results and students at home and abroad in faculties of law, medicine, teaching, and boasts of having students that have entered at FBC, IPAM, Njala, COMMAHS and this they say, is the way they have been helping the government and country in terms of education.
The Head teacher expressed appreciation to cooperating parents but slammed other parents that send their kids to the school but cannot afford to pay the cost for quality education.
Mrs. Marie M. Conteh Head Teacher Mereweather Preparatory School nonetheless dispelled perception that private schools are only for the rich and not for the less privileged.
“Our school is not all that expensive because we are talking bout quality and quality education needs money.
We are not funded by government; it’s out of our fees.
I believe that among the private schools in this country our fees are commensurable to the things we give and after we don’t ask parent for any money or item (soap, toilet role etc).
Most of the parents are co-operating, which means that they can afford to pay the cost,” she said.
Some parents say that they are happy that the school has reduced its fees in compliance with the government but praised the quality education provided by the school.